A moment from the Youth Project, May 2022

For me, this has been a transformative experience in certain ways. I realized that different groups of people in various settings bring upon different experiences, I was once again reminded where I am in life at the moment and I began having a more clear view of where I’m potentially going. Belonging to a colourful and playful community for 10 days was also a nice break from everyday life! All in all, I’m grateful for having gone through this exchange.

I feel blessed to come back home full of remarkable experiences and memories. As another Youth Exchange journey ended, I would like to thank everyone who participated and organized this self-journey. In the past 10 days, we achieved to share so many diverse emotions, created a safe and playful community, and organized activities and workshops. I would like to choose and share my favorite magical moment sitting next to the bonfire, watching the sunset, coved with blankets, sharing feelings, and singing.

A bus picks you up from the center of Riga and brings you to the middle of nowhere, in a big wooden house that you will have to share with the rest of the participants for the next ten days. The first day you start to talk with everyone, trying to get to know them a little bit and before you even realize, you become a family. Being out in the nature in such a quiet place with people who understand you, creates a safe space where you feel like you can finally be yourself. So, you start expressing emotions that you kept hidden for a long time and you explore yourself and your identity and discover a new you. But the final day arrives and you don’t want to leave because you made so many new friends with whom you laughed, drew, danced, cried, talked, hugged and did so many other things. So, you take with you all the memories you made together but you don’t say goodbye, because you know that somewhere, somehow, you will meet each other again.

This program helped me face some feelings that I was hiding inside of me for a long time. There, I had the time and space I needed to process and accept them. It really changed the way I am thinking and I am grateful that I got the chance to have this amazing experience!

This was a steppingstone level of experience for me as a person. Not only I learned some things about myself and dared to face others, I also felt part of the community for the first time after 27 birthdays. A word I only knew as just that, a word, suddenly started making sense. The warm embrace of one another, the 1 to 1 or even 1 to 30 moments we shared, many of them familiar to me too, created such a beautiful, safe, cozy and fun environment.

And that’s thanks not only to the willing to share participants, but the facilitators as well, for doing such a great job while running the activities, always reminding us that if we don’t feel like sharing our feelings this time with rest, it’s ok to pass the talking part. Adding to this, the very nicely structured schedule, slowly building a deeper bonding between us, really made this project standing out as once of the best, if not the best days of my life. I am grateful to have taken part on this youth exchange, to have met so many amazing people and to have been in touch with parts of the community I never had before. Thank you.